Every year, we look to the NFL Top 100 Players list, the one airing on NFL Network and voted on by players, as opposed to the ones put out by every single outlet out there. If only because the NFL Network one has cool video vignettes on every player.
The Bucs had three players in the NFL Top 100 this year: Jameis Winston (#57), Gerald McCoy (#52) and Mike Evans (#29), but that wasn’t enough to even get them into the top half of the teams with top 100 players: according to Levi Damien of Silver & Black Pride, they’re 16th in a ranking based on amount and position of top 100 players.
In other words: the Bucs don’t have the elite players that other, successful teams do. And yes, the teams ranked highly on the top 100 are all good: all but one of the top 10 teams made the playoffs last year, for instance.
Of course, the fact that Bucs lacked elite players last year is fairly obvious. Aside from Mike Evans, no one really had a dominant season. The question isn’t really what happened last year, but what’s going to happen this season. Who’s going to take that next step and become a top player at his position?
The Bucs have plenty of candidates. Jameis Winston, obviously, but Kwon Alexander and Ali Marpet could realistically take that next step, too. Gerald McCoy, Brent Grimes and Lavonte David have a chance of returning to their elite days, while DeSean Jackson is arguably elite at his position: very few receivers are as fast as he is.
The Bucs may have lacked elite last year, that doesn’t mean that’ll be the case this season.